ERS 234 Lecture 2: Lecture 2 Forest Biology and Ecology September 19

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Environment and Resource Studies
ERS 234
Maren Oelbermann

Lecture 2 Forest Biology and Ecology September 19, 2016 Forest Biomes of the World - Biome: collection of ecosystems that are similar or related to one another based on the types of plants they support o Climate o Geology o Ecological factors o Anthropogenic factors Factors Affecting Vegetation Distribution: Climate Change & Soil - Amount of Solar Radiation o Major control of climate and forest types - Seasonal variation in temperature - Precipitation o Water availability and evaporation  Abundant precipitation: tropical forests o Soil fertility influences vegetation patterns  Evergreen plants: infertile soil  Deciduous plants: fertile soil Factors Affecting Vegetation Distribution: Disturbance - Intensity, frequency, and type of disturbance o Influence biome distribution o Influence species composition - Natural Disturbance o Fire, wind, drought - Anthropogenic disturbance o Land clearing, fire suppression, timber harvest o Climate change Factors Affecting Latitudinal Vegetation Distribution - Distribution of Forest biomes o Distribution of terrestrial biomes  Climate, geology, ecology, anthropogenic factors. Vegetation Distribution: Climate - Species composition and forest structure o Germination, reproduction, growth  Solar radiation, water, nutrients, and temperature Vegetation Distribution: Solar Radiation - Solar radiation is a major control on earth’s climate Vegetation Distribution: Water - Water availability o Amount of precipitation  Tropics vs. subtropics vs. temperate vs. boreal o Ability to dry (evaporation)  Temperate/tropics vs. desert - Location with respect to large body of water o Coastal areas vs. inland areas o Large lakes (i.e. great lakes) Vegetation Distribution: Soil - Parent material & climate o Type of bedrock o High rainfall, freeze-thaw - Degree of soil weathering o Nutrient leaching - Young vs. old soil o Recent glaciation (young) o High leeched (old) o Alluvial deposits (river delta)  Difficult to form soils. Vegetation Distribution: Natural & Anthropogenic - Disturbance o Intensity o Frequency o Type - Natural o Fire o Wind o Drought - Anthropogenic o Land clearing o Timber harvest o Fire suppression Vegetation Classification Systems - Many different systems but all based on: o Climate o Appearance of vegetation o Deciduous vs. evergreen - Some systems are very broad others are very detailed - Biome = broadest classification Major Global Forest Biomes - Boreal Forest o Northern hemisphere only  Occupy 30% of total global land area  Canada has a large proportion of boreal forest o Harsh Climate  Long, cold winters  Some areas have permafrost o Soil development is slow  Poorly drained soil  Accumulation of peat mosses & sphagnum  Young soils derived from recent glaciation o Low tree species diversity  9 dominant species  Low diversity due to recent glaciation  Composition strongly influenced by topography and soil type  Species characterizing the boreal forest:  Spruce & larch: dominate poorly drained soil  Pines: dominate well drained upland soil  Poplar, fir, willow (and some spruce): dominate fine textured upland soil  Bryophytes, lichens, mosses, sphagnum o Canopy designed to minimize accumulation of snow and maximize exposure to the sun. o Fire is an important natural disturbance to this forest  Fire influences species composition, nutrient availability & productivity o Least managed forest biome  Low growth rates, inaccessibility  Commercial logging occurs in Southern Boreal  Few plantations exist  Good example of sustainable plantation management  Affected by air pollution for nickel and iron ore mines. - Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forests o Occupy 7% of global area  North America, Europe, Asia  Absent from Southern Hemisphere except Chile o Large range of climate o Occur on highly variable soil types  Young and infertile  Weathered and fertile o Higher diversity than boreal  30 plant families  Composition depends on topography, soil fertility, and successional status. o 4-8 month growing season o Riparian forests important in flood control o Forest clearing due to fertile soil o Not highly managed (selective logging, short rotation plantings)  Uneven-aged and even-aged management practices are sustainable in this forest biome - Temperate Needle Evergreen Forest
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